The food stamp program provides a way for low-income families to receive temporary help buying food. Though the program is federal, state and local agencies administer it. You can apply for benefits if you meet the minimum requirements of the program. Though the program process varies from state to state, all agencies use the same maximum income requirement.
To receive food stamps, you must submit an application that includes your personal information. If you are experiencing a temporary hardship, you must give your caseworker the details of when you hope to resolve the situation. It is your caseworker’s responsibility to determine how long you need food stamp benefits. The caseworker will verify the information you give in your phone interview.
You must meet the minimum food stamp requirements to qualify. However, any person who shares meals and expenses with you must also qualify for the program as regulations consider him a household member. Household members must submit income information, but are not required to conduct a caseworker interview.
The maximum amount a person can make and still receive food stamps varies by the number of people in the household. However, the combined net income of the household must be within 100 percent of the poverty level. Your net income is the money you bring in after taxes. As of 2010, a single-member household can have a maximum net income of $903 per month. A two-member household can have a combined net income of $1,215.
When approved for food stamps, you will have a designated timeframe to receive benefits. Once this time expires, your caseworker conducts a new review to determine whether you still meet the minimum program requirements for recertification. However, you must tell your caseworker about any changes in your income as soon as they occur, even if it is before your recertification date. Failure to report new income could result in suspension from the food stamp program.
Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.